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Dietary Reference Intakes

Dietary reference intakes (DRIs) are a set of scientifically developed reference values for nutrients.

DRI values provide the scientific basis for nutrition professionals, governments, and non-governmental organizations to carry out activities such as:

  • Developing nutrition labels
  • Developing dietary guidelines and food guides 
  • Ensuring foods and supplements contain safe levels of nutrients
  • Creating patient and consumer counseling and educational programs
  • Assessing nutrient intakes and monitoring the nutritional health of the population

It’s important that DRIs remain up to date to support the health of people living in the United States.

DRIs Overview

DRIs are a comprehensive set of nutrient reference values used by professionals working in the field of nutrition and health. 

There is a set of different values for each nutrient, each with different uses, depending on the application. Most nutrients have several DRI values. 

Each type of DRI refers to the average daily nutrient intake for the general population over time.

Definitions of the different DRIs provide further details about each of these values. 

Values related to meeting nutritional requirements are: 

  • Estimated average requirement (EAR)
  • Estimated energy requirement (EER)
  • Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)
  • Adequate intake (AI)

The value for preventing excessive intakes is the:

  • Tolerable upper intake level (UL)

The values for reducing risk of chronic disease are the:

  • Chronic disease risk reduction intake (CDRR)
  • Acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR)